Al­len­town works on fix for flood-prone pool

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Emily Opilo

Al­len­town is work­ing on a fix for the flood-prone Cedar Beach Pool, of­fi­cials an­nounced Mon­day, in­clud­ing se­cur­ing the banks of nearby Cedar Creek.

The project, which re­quired ap­proval by the Penn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, in­cludes re­mov­ing a con­crete bridge and its abut­ments to re­duce the force of the creek wa­ter. That was com­pleted ear­lier this sum­mer, city of­fi­cials said in a news re­lease.

Ad­di­tional work, in­clud­ing re­grad­ing the stream bank, re­mov­ing sed­i­ment, in­stalling ero­sion con­trol mea­sures and na­tive plants, is slated to be com­pleted by this fall.

The prox­im­ity of the creek to the pool, which is built in a flood plain, has been an is­sue for decades, but the prob­lem has been ex­ac­er­bated lately by two fac­tors: a par­tic­u­larly rainy sum­mer in 2018 and the city’s sub­stan­tial $3.4 mil­lion in­vest­ment into re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing the pool. That ren­o­va­tion, com­pleted by the end of 2017, forced the pool to remain closed for three prob­lem-plagued years of con­struc­tion.

At the start of the 2018 sea­son, the pool of­fi­cially re­opened, but it was closed by mid-Au­gust due to re­peated flood­ing. Flood­wa­ters reached the pool, ini­tially clos­ing it for six days.

In less than a week, the flood­ing re­turned, and of­fi­cials shut­tered the fa­cil­ity for the sea­son.

A sec­ond phase of the flood­proof­ing work will be con­cen­trated on fix­ing the paved ar­eas around the creek and pool, city of­fi­cials said Mon­day. That work has not yet been sched­uled.

Karen El-Chaar, Al­len­town’s di­rec­tor of parks and recre­ation, said she was pleased that the work has, thus far, been ef­fec­tive.

The pool has not flooded in 2019, how­ever it was forced to close for sev­eral days in July af­ter the pool’s main mo­tor was dam­aged by wa­ter from a bro­ken pipe in the pool’s pump house.

“Com­ple­tion of this project will have a huge im­pact not only with flood mit­i­ga­tion, but in restor­ing nat­u­ral flow of the creek and restor­ing na­tive habi­tat ar­eas,” she said.

City spokesman Mike Moore said the work is be­ing com­pleted in-house by city staff.

Thus far, $3,699 has been spent for coir rolls and straw mat­ting. That money was in the depart­ment’s bud­get, he said.

Morn­ing Call staff writer Emily Opilo can be reached at [email protected] or 610-8206522.

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